Eric Kelly knows education. But even with four degrees and experience at Indiana’s Ball State University as an academic dean and a professor of urban planning, he’s never seen anything quite like Beloit.
His daughter, Valissitie Heeren’98, earned a top-caliber pre-med degree while also pursuing an interest in French. From the start, he says, “she was able to work in real labs with real professors and become a teaching assistant as a sophomore.” Her goal was to gain admittance into a highly competitive veterinarian school, which she accomplished easily, having gain admittance into four of her top-choice schools. Today, she works as a veterinarian in Seattle.
In thanks for the powerful experience, Kelly has established the Heeren-Kelly Endowed Scholarship Fund for students majoring in biology, with preference given to students who have served as teaching assistants in the genetics course. He and Heeren plan to double the endowment to $50,000 over the next several years.
The scholarship continues a cycle of philanthropy from which Heeren herself benefited as a student. “As a family, we owe Beloit at least a moral debt for having done so much for Valiss at such a modest cost to us,” Kelly says. “As I reflect back on what institutions have made a difference in my children’s lives, Beloit sails to the top.”